See This Symbol? Respect It

Okay, going out on a limb and admitting . . . yes, I have parked in a handicap spot before when I was pressed for time and just needed to get in and out of a store. Bad me, but I didn’t really feel that bad about the act. Now that I’m temporarily disabled and have had to

live in a world not meant for disabled people: ”Shame on me!”d9-6_LG

I got my cas

t off today. A week early. Thank you God. I asked the nurse how much that thing weighed. Ten pounds. No wonder when I weighed myself I thought Holy cow, I’ve been sitting around eating too much for the past two weeks. My trainer is going to kill me. (Yes, I still have been sitting around eating too much, but I think only 5 pounds worth, not 10.)

I still can’t put weight on my foot for another week, so I’ll have to use my roller cart for a while longer. Being without the use of my left leg has opened my eyes to the challenges faced by a handicap person. My husband took me to the grocery store yesterday and I used that electric cart. While it was handy and convenient, I couldn’t reach the plastic bags for produce and I couldn’t reach produce on the high shelves. I couldn’t reach any food on the higher shelves. I almost wiped out the flour bags when I backed into them and knocked two on the floor. I could hardly reach over and get them.

Over the weekend, my husband took me to see The Blind Side and I sat in the handicap section of the movie theater. We had to get there early to make sure I got a spot where I could keep my leg up. People sat in our row who were not handicap and when the movie was going to start in 10 minutes, two women and a man in a wheelchair came. There was only one seat left. The three people on my left just stared blankly. One of the women asked–”Are you handicap?” They muttered, “No.” And they didn’t move. Jerks. The people on our right kindly moved to regular seating and left the two women and the man in the wheelchair have that space.

Today I went to the DMV and got a temporary Handicap Parking sticker. The clerk next to the one who helped me had a cast on her leg. She’d just gotten off her roller and into an air boot and fiberglass cast. She and I commiserated how difficult it is getting around at places where there are no ramps, and there are steps only. I got the temp permit, and as I went to leave the DMV, I realized, there is no automatic door. For me to open a door on my rolling cart is next to impossible. The woman in the cast came and helped me.

The bottom line is: I have gained an entirely new respect for those with disabilities. I know I’ll get better and be able to walk again and not give thought about parking closer to the entrance, sitting in a handicap section, or having a door automatically open for me. But for those who have no choice, and must deal with this daily, you have my apology for ever taking a handicap spot in a “hurry.”

It will never happen again.